G.M. and D.M v. Rural Mutual Insurance Company, Dane County Case – Automobile accident – jury verdict

by Keith Stachowiak • Leave a Comment
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Keith Stachowiak and Thadd Llaurado

Milwaukee Personal Injury attorney Thadd Llaurado and Keith Stachowiak recently received a Dane County Jury verdict in the amount of $1,473,036.68 for a 75-year-old man and in the amount of $261,923.08 for his 73-year-old wife, both of whom were injured in a rollover of a pickup truck driven by defendant Rural Insurance Company’s insured.

On December 21, 2008, at approximately 10:30 p.m., three couples were returning from a card party.  The roads were covered with snow and ice.  Rural’s insured was driving on Highway B near Plain, Wisconsin, at 10 mph below the speed limit of 55 mph.  As the driver approached a curve in the road, he lost control of the vehicle and rolled over one time.  In the rollover, the plaintiff suffered fractures to his neck with no paralysis.  The plaintiff underwent two spinal fusions and was left with residual pain in his neck and numbness in three fingers of his right hand.  Plaintiff’s wife suffered a T-12 fracture with no surgical intervention.  She received conservative treatment in the form of a Jewitt brace which she wore for two months and chiropractor treatment.

Subsequent to the accident, but before trial, the driver died of natural causes unrelated to the accident.

Plaintiff claimed that the driver, Rural’s insured, was negligent in the operation of his motor vehicle, and that plaintiff suffered permanent residual injuries including increased pain as well as decreased range of motion of his neck.

Defendant Rural denied that its insured was negligent.  It claimed that its insured was driving carefully under the speed limit and unexpectedly contacted ice on the road.  Defendant also claimed that the male plaintiff had extensive pre-existing neck and back problems as he had sought extensive chiropractic treatment prior to the accident.  Defendant claimed that the female plaintiff’s injuries had for the most part healed and she had no significant functional limitations.

The trial was held before the Hon. Ellen Berz of Branch 11 of the Circuit Court of Dane County.

The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs finding Rural’s insured causally negligent.  G.M. had past medical specials of $298,036.68.  The jury awarded him $75,000 in future medical specials; $750,000 for past pain, suffering, and disability; $300,000 for future pain, suffering, and disability; and $50,000 for loss of companionship.  D.M. had $31,923.08 in past medical specials.  The jury awarded her $25,000 for future medical specials; $65,000 for past pain, suffering, and disability; $40,000 for future pain, suffering, and disability; and $100,000 for loss of companionship.  Plaintiffs did not make a claim for wage loss.

Thadd J. Llaurado and Keith R. Stachowiak of Murphy & Prachthauser, S.C. of Milwaukee, WI, tried the case on behalf of the plaintiffs.  Defendants were represented by H. Dale Peterson and John J. Laubmeier of Stroud, Willink & Howard, Madison, WI.

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